Baked Mercenaria Mercenaria... Aka baked Clams, or Quahogs

I have a fabulous supplier, close to me, of all manner of delicious goodies.  Oakleaf European actually make twice weekly visits to Rungis, in Paris, and return with fabulous things for restaurants all over the UK, and even fly somethings abroad for one or two special restaurants.  Depending on the season their warehouse smells of truffles, the sweetest figs, planters of aromatic mint, basil, and bunches of chervil.

Malaysian Prawn and Pineapple Curry

Hubby makes a LOT of curries - curries and tagines. He's often constrained by my need to eat fish or shellfish, but luckily there are any number of dishes from Asia and the Indian subcontinent which suit my requirements perfectly.  His favourite cookbooks are those by Atul Kochhar, Rick Stein and more recently my chum Dhruv Baker, and he also attended one of Atul's courses, and prepared a meal for the lunch service.  Hubby gained a number of useful insights into preparing curry, chief of which appears to be proper cooking of onions.  This recipe is actually a Malaysian curry, known as Udang Masak, and is based on one taught to Atul by Maria Mustafa...

Orange and Cranberry Scones

The 9 year old's on-going quest for the perfect bake has turned to scones.  So far we've made conventional scones, cheese, raisin, and this variation from a recipe by Ina Garten (aka The Barefoot Contessa).  Ina's version includes cream and is made in the kitchen aid - I've included it because the ingredients and technique varied a great deal from the English versions I saw.

Blackened Fish (or Chicken)

Since I have eschewed meat, I've been eating predominantly fish.  Hardly a hardship I hear you cry, especially when the fish I buy is usually some gorgeous (ethically sourced) bit of wild fish, such as sea trout, or halibut.  But still, fish several times a week can become a little bit uninspiring.  In Antigua I spotted a blackened flying fish burger, with a brioche bun, and a spiced remoulade - I think I must have eaten it three or four times in the remaining days before I had to fly home.

Oeufs en Cocotte, Alba Truffle, and King Oyster Mushrooms

Some supper dishes are so simple that they should be saved until you have some really special ingredients - oeufs en cocotte (baked eggs) are the perfect example.  A quick tour of the fridge reveals lovely Legbar eggs, the remains of an alba truffle from Christmas, and king oyster mushrooms.  Baked together like this it's not a supper dish but a feast...


Chicken Casserole with Fennel, Lemon, Garlic and Mushrooms

I've no idea where this idea came from, as I'd originally intended to make a chicken chasseur.   When I opened the fridge though, I had an excellent head of fennel, amazing lemons, some beautiful pink garlic and some of my new favourite king oyster mushrooms. It reminded me of one of my absolute favourite summer lunches - finely sliced fennel, served with a garlic and lemon dressing, and seared chicken breasts which have been marinated in garlic and lemon juice.  I think it just seemed logical to give it a go...

Sous Vide Fillet of Beef

The sous-vide dish which I prepare most often is actually fillet of beef for a Sunday lunch... Most of my children are addicted to rare beef, but heaven forbid you get it anywhere beyond that and they'll turn into the biggest critics on the planet.  Given that I'm cooking for six, and that they usually also demand chicken too, or salmon, it's actually very easy to end up going over by five minutes!  Consequently one of the first things I learnt to do with my water bath was rare beef...

Gordon Ramsay's Baked Spice Porridge

My predictable January health kick survives* - we've reached the 5th - and although it's a Sunday morning, I've managed to stall breakfast long enough to make baked porridge.  I'd caught this recipe earlier in the week on Ramsay's show, and located the recipe online.  I have to say, it's so much nicer than perhaps it sounds!  Forget that oats are a good source of soluble fibre, help reduce cholesterol, and provide an invaluable source of manganese and non-meat protein - this thing tastes yummy too!

CakePops are Dead! Long live the MallowPop!

We've all made cake pops - good grief - what a bore!

For starters, who really wants a mouthful of dry cake, mixed with sickly sweet buttercream?  Then there's the fact that they take soooo long to make, fall off if you make them too big, or include too much buttercream... No, no.  The cakepop is dead.

Puy lentil salad, with roasted vegetables and king oyster mushrooms

It's inevitable, as predictable as the rising sun - come the first of January and we all feel the call of the detox. I've been craving lentils ever since I caught the Nigel Slater show over Christmas - his dish of warm lentil salad, horseradish and rare beef chimed somewhere with my overloaded palate... However I really wanted to make it meat-free, and to incorporate some roasted king oyster mushrooms. The mushrooms are meaty enough - they're perfect for roasting and absorb the flavour of anything they're dressed in.  I coated them in porcini oil, and salt and pepper and roasted them for around 30 minutes.